Mark Bittman's recipe for roast duck produced a flavorful but not overly greasy bird. We really should have taken a photo of the rich brown exterior before carving it up, but this only occurred to be after dinner and Will vetoed photography of the dismembered carcass as "too gruesome." For other lovers of tasty linear birds, the recipe follows:
Roast Duck in One Hour
Preheat oven to 455.
Place duck breast side down on an elevated rack in a deep-sided roasting pan. There should be water in the bottom of the pan to prevent grease splatters.
Stab the duck many times with a sharp knife. Pour soy sauce over it and then sprinkle with black pepper.
Roast for ten minutes. Cover again with soy sauce and pepper.
Roast for twenty minutes. Remove duck from oven, flip it breast side up and do the soy sauce/pepper bit one last time. Keep an eye on the water level unless you like setting off smoke alarms.
Roast for thirty minutes. Carve and devour.
ADDENDUM: Will Baude's birthday cake was a red velvet cake made according to Cake Man Raven's recipe, with modifications following the recipe available here.
I'm entirely baffled as to how the former recipe could make three 9 inch layers, since I made only two and they were a scant inch or so tall, save in the center. The amount of food coloring should really be doubled for a true "red velvet" effect. My attempt was more of a deep rose.
The cake was structured with a layer of frosting and berries in between the cakes and more berries in the frosting on top. Cake Man Raven's frosting hardens nicely in the fridge, to my great relief; the last time I iced a cake, the decorative nut arrangement started to slide around as the icing settled.